August 10, 2022
Related Materials: Latest CDC Monkeypox Health Alert (cdc.gov) | Latest California Monkeypox Health Alert | CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) | California Health Alert Network (CAHAN) | Monkeypox Q&A
Latest News Releases: State Public Health Officials Provide Monkeypox (MPX) Update | Statement on National Emergency Declaration | State of Emergency | State Provides Update on Monkeypox Response on July 29
The current monkeypox situation is rapidly evolving and the information below will be updated as new information emerges. CDPH is closely monitoring monkeypox transmission in the U.S. and California to ensure rapid identification of cases. The risk of monkeypox to the public is currently low based on the information available. While monkeypox can infect anyone, many of the recent cases in 2022 have occurred among persons self-identifying as men who have sex with men (MSM).
Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus which includes the variola (smallpox) virus as well as the vaccinia virus, which is used in the smallpox vaccine. Monkeypox is of public health concern because the illness is similar to smallpox and can be spread from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus. Monkeypox is less transmissible and usually less severe than smallpox.
Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 and occurs primarily in Central and West African countries. Historically, monkeypox cases have rarely occurred in the U.S. and had mostly been related to international travel or importation of animals. There is a recent significant increase in reported cases where monkeypox is not commonly seen, including in Europe, Canada, the United States and California. While it's good to stay alert about any emerging public health outbreaks, the current risk of getting monkeypox in the general public is low.
Monkeypox might start with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores. The sores will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. They can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful and itchy.
The rash or sores may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butt) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or inside the mouth. They may also be limited to one part of the body.
People with monkeypox may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. Most with monkeypox will develop the rash or sores. Some people have reported developing a rash or sores before (or without) the flu-like symptoms.
Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.
Monkeypox spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, and cuddling. Monkeypox can spread through touching materials used by a person with monkeypox that haven't been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. It can also spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact.
There are number of ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox, including:
Always talking to your sexual partner/s about any recent illness and being aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner's body, including on the genitals and anus
Avoiding close contact, including sex, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
Practicing good hand hygiene
Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (like a mask, gown, and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
Avoiding contact with infected materials contaminated with the virus
Avoiding contact with infected animals
Diagnosis & Isolation
If you have a new or an unexplained rash or other symptoms, avoid crowds, close contact with others, and seek medical care for further testing and evaluation. If you do not have a health care provider or healthcare insurance, contact your local health department about any available resources. You may also contact the Department of Healthcare Services for more available resources.